Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunday 30th.May 2010

I didn't think I was going to get out today , as I had a couple of 'brownie point earning' jobs to do , and the wind was very strong , driving in more and more cloud . About 3.30 , I had finished the jobs and the wind dropped slightly and the sun started to shine through , so I decided to have an hour before dinner . I decided on Salt Box Hill , just below Biggin Hill Airport , mainly to see if the Dartmoor ponies had been removed , and the access gates unchained . On arrival , I found the answer to both questions was no . I can't believe that London Wildlife Trust have left the two ponies on the site , according to their notices , to eat the rank grasses , when Common Spotted , Man and Bee Orchids will be pushing through , and no doubt making a tasty snack for the pair . Talking of snacks , the pair have effectively ring-barked every tree and shrub on the site , including the Buckthorn that made this site really good for Brimstones over the last few years .
The smaller area is as yet unfenced and so not subjected to the ponies , and it was there that I spent my time . The first thing I found was Colombine-Aquilegia vulgaris . Like many plants growing in the wild with houses around , garden escapes are always a strong possibility . In the far corner , the Deadly Nightshade-Atropa bella-donna , that I posted on my last visit , is now coming into flower . If pollinated , these will produce glossy black berries that are extremely poisonous . I took this shot , then waited for the wind to ease to get a second , the vegetation somewhere below and to the left of me , exploded . I have seen Deer on the site on early morning visits , and seen the flattened areas where they probably spend the night , but did not expect to come across one at about 4 o'clock in the afternoon . I had the 100mm. lens on , the autofocus was set on A1 SERVO , and it was set on continuous shooting . The following four shots were the first of 18 that I managed to fire off , as this female Roe Deer bounded up the slope , and away into the woodland , not to be seen again .
When I caught my breath again , I started looking at what else was about . This Frog/Leafhopper caught my attention , strange , because it seemed to have ears . I've had a quick look , but haven't managed to ID it yet , any ideas ? Now identified , thanks to Phil -
Sharp by Nature as a Horned Treehopper-Centrotus cornutus . Cheers Phil .
Just 3 male Common Blue butterflies and a single Dingy Skipper were recorded. Of interest with
the Common Blue , the wings of the male contain no blue pigment at all , and the blue colour is produced by the diffraction of sunlight by thousands of corrugated scales on the wings , which absorb all colours of the spectrum except blue . Heading back to the car and home for dinner , I spotted this tiny Weevil on a Hawthorn leaf , which I think is Phyllobius viridiaeris , but as usual , I stand to be corrected .


Warren Baker said...

Time to fire off a ranting e-mail to the London Wildlife Trust Greenie ?

Phil said...

Hi Greenie. Just a quick note to say I think your mystery bug is a Horned Treehoppper (Centrotus cornutus)one of only two British Treehoppers apparently.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Don't worry , that went off before I posted !

Phil ,
Thanks for that , very impressive bit of detective work .
Never even heard of a Treehopper .

Kingsdowner said...

Nice shootin' pardner - venison for lunch?